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November 29, 2012 - Image 52

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-11-29

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

>> ... Next Generation ...

Professionals

Vision For iv
wainsint In The

eil Greenberg was born to ride.
For as long as he can remember, the
30-year-old native Detroiter has been
obsessed with mass transportation.
"I was at the People Mover on the day it
opened in 1987," he recalls. "I was 5 years old.
My parents picked up my grandma in Oak Park,
and we went down to the Bricktown Station for a
ride."
He also has fond memories of a weekend trip to
Chicago five years later.
"We took a quick ride on the 146 bus from
North Michigan Avenue and Delaware near the
Water Tower to the Shedd Aquarium campus near
Soldier Field," he remembers. "I was so enthralled
with the details of it all, the numbers, maps and
schedules. I thought, 'This is so cool, there are so
many things to wonder about.' "
Greenberg's early experiences with mass transit
got him thinking.
"The more I grew fascinated with it, the more I
saw how essential it was for healthy cities to have
a great transit system."
His preoccupation became his occupation.
"Long story short, it became a career for me.
I've worn a lot of different hats in the transit
industry. It's my job."

Freshwater website helps Detroiters
picture how it could work here.

ALLAN NAHAJEWSKI I CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Wehsite With A Vision

If you Google "Freshwater Railway," you'll find
a website that looks too good to be true, but there
it is — maps and schedules for trains and buses
that can take you just about anywhere in southeast
Michigan — "Detroit, Ann Arbor, Port Huron, Flint,
Toledo, Howell, Adrian, Jackson, Windsor and all
points in between."
But here's the secret: It's fictional. It's Neil
Greenberg's vision of what mass transit in Detroit
could be like in mind-blowing detail.
"Freshwater Railway was intended as nothing
more than a visual to get Detroiters to understand
what transit looks like," he says. "Many people in
this area don't have a first-hand reference point of
what mass transit is."
The website was designed to make the imaginary
appear real.
"If you're from the Detroit area, you know
we don't have a good transit system," he says.
"Freshwater Railway is designed to throw that
conventional wisdom into question for one precious
moment. When you land on the home page, it looks
real and official. You think, wait a minute, could it
be? It's designed to engage you in ways that a lot
of other conversations about transit cannot."
Greenberg says he doesn't know how people

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Alternatives

Based
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Community of food
entrepreneurs encourages
each other's success.

HARRY KIRSBAUM I CONTRIBUTING WRITER

52

November 29 • 2012

I

t's not just the bottom line; it's the
in a covenantal relationship with God where
triple bottom line. And according
we are just as responsible for being stewards of
to a growing movement of young
justice and Godliness, and God is being good to
Detroit business entrepreneurs, it's
us in return."
a way to be idealistic and realistic at the
FoodLab has grown into something that
same time.
is a really exciting model for how we can be
John Elkington, the founder of the
connecting values to business in a modern
British organization SustainAbility, coined
context, Nosan said, but this differs from the
the phrase triple bottom line (TBL)
social, anti-business activism of the 1960s and
in 1994. He posited that companies
'70s.
Jess Daniel, founder of
should be preparing three different
"Social entrepreneurs are less focused on
FoodLab
(and, according to The Economist, quite
reactive activism and are more focused on
separate) bottom lines — the financial,
pragmatic approaches to change," said Nosan
social and environmental performance of
of Detroit. "Values-based business is considered
a corporation over a period of time.
a mechanism by which social/environmental
During a lunch-and-learn session
values can create change within an existing
at the Isaac Agree Detroit Synagogue
capitalist system, which is markedly different
on Nov. 5, Blair Nosan, chair of the
from choosing to work outside that system."
Education and Social Action Committee,
Financially supported by the nonprofit
introduced Jess Daniel, founder of
Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice
FoodLab Detroit, a TBL "community of
and a small stipend as a graduate student at
practice" of food entrepreneurs that
Michigan State University, Daniel's FoodLab
Blair Nosan
supports the development, growth and
Detroit operates under the assumption that not
cooperation of locally owned, socially
everyone in business is looking only to maximize
and environmentally responsible food
profits. Some of these people have jobs and are
enterprises.
doing it as supplemental income — running a sustainable
"What we're talking about is attaching economic
business that makes a profit, but not enough for them to
development and business to values," Nosan said. "We are
subsist. It's providing ancillary social benefits, she said.

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